Update: The BBC Apologizes to The Queen

Yesterday’s story about the tiff between Queen Elizabeth II and celeb photographer Annie Leibovitz caused quite an uproar in Buckingham Palace. Like so many in this reality-TV era, it appears Her Majesty was a victim of some clever editing: she actually never stormed out on Leibovitz. But the trailer for A Year with the Queen implies that she did. In a great example of the Queen’s continued ability to command respect, if not groveling submission, Auntie Beeb in London issued an apology:

A trailer for the program, unveiled on Wednesday, showed the Queen in an exchange with Leibovitz, followed by a clip of her apparently walking off.The BBC said in a statement: “This was not the case and the actual sequence of events was misrepresented.”

The documentary, A Year With The Queen, will be shown later this year.

“The BBC would like to apologize to both the Queen and Annie Leibovitz for any upset this may have caused”, the corporation’s statement continued.

Today, The Sun enjoyed a bit of a nasty schadenfreude at the BBC’s expense, but they also included a quote from Ms. Leibovitz confirming the all-around tense atmosphere leading up to the Vanity Fair photoshoot.

…The Queen appeared to have been in a grumpy mood even before her strop.

Annie – best known for her naked portrait of heavily pregnant actress Demi Moore – said of the encounter: “She entered the room at a surprisingly fast pace, as fast as the regalia would allow her.

“She muttered, ‘Why am I wearing these heavy robes in the middle of the day?’

“She doesn’t really want to get dressed up any more. She just couldn’t be bothered and I admire her for that.

“When you get to that age you have a right to have those kinds of feelings.”

Why do I perceive that last line as somewhat backhanded?

Really, it’s not like most people would blame the Queen for walking out on Leibovitz. Doesn’t she seem a bit insufferable? The Guardian‘s Hadley Freeman uses this row to take a shot at the American media, Vanity Fair and star snappers, in particular:

It’s hard to see how this story can prompt anything other than huge cheers – because if there are any demographics on this planet with bigger egos and a more deluded sense of self-importance these days, it’s the media, particularly the American media, and celebrity photographers. Yeah, yeah, Annie Leibovitz, she took the last photo of John Lennon three hours before he died, blah blah blah. But for God’s sake, not even Annie can ask the Queen to take off her crown – has she never heard of Oliver Cromwell?

The moral to the story: never come between a queen and her tiara.

Well, Prince Charles must be thanking his dear old mum today: her alleged strop siphoned away press coverage from this quite dignified photo-op.

In other news:

  • It has been officially announced that David Walliams and Matt Lucas are making an American version of Little Britain for HBO, even though it seems like we’ve known about this for over a year. Walliams said: “We’re very keen to take Little Britain to as wide an audience as possible.”(BBC)
  • The Stage‘s Mark Shenton pens a love letter to Harry Potter‘s Imelda Staunton, who of course, was robbed of an Academy Award for her performance in Vera Drake. Love her.
  • A crew member was injured on the set of The Golden Compass during a scene involving Daniel Craig.(Daily Mail)
  • Actress Rosamund Pike wishes she could be a Bond girl another day.(Starpulse)
  • Light & Shade took some notes from a writers’ event with Life On Mars co-creator Tony Jordan.
  • Some witticisms from Russell Brand.(Cambridge Evening News)
  • Andrew Davies, the premier writer of glossy TV adapations, says Pride & Prejudice is his favorite Jane Austen novel: “It’s kind of the most perfectly plotted in a way, the kind of supsense of the thing is just so beautifully arranged,” Davies said. “And Darcy, I think, is the most charismatic probably of all the Austen heroes. … The men are the secret in it. Those powerful, mysterious men of few words are what makes [it].”(Orlando Sentinel)
  • Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella is set to enter the world of opera: he’s penning a libretto for New York’s Met.(Guardian)

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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